Invicta Fighting Championships: Can an All-Women's MMA Promotion Survive?

Nick CaronAnalyst IMay 1, 2012

Kaitlin Young and Leslie Smith battled to a draw in a Fight of the Night performance at Invicta 1. (Photo: Esther Lin, Invicta FC)
Kaitlin Young and Leslie Smith battled to a draw in a Fight of the Night performance at Invicta 1. (Photo: Esther Lin, Invicta FC)

Void of a UFC, Strikeforce or Bellator event, it was the debut of the all-women's MMA promotion Invicta Fighting Championships which left the MMA world in a buzz this past weekend. 

The fight card featured some of the top up-and-coming female fighters in the sport as well as some noteworthy veterans including former Strikeforce bantamweight champion Marloes Coenen in the main event.

It didn't receive the kind of media attention that the top male-dominated promotions do, but Invicta's inaugural show exceeded all expectations that fans could have possibly had going in.

Exciting fight after exciting fight led to even critics admitting that they were fairly impressed with what these women could do in the cage and the presentation delivered from the promotion.

Invicta may have opened the eyes of many fans who had previously written off any fight featuring two women, but the question remains—can Invicta stay in business long enough to put women's MMA on the map as more than just a "special attraction?"

Like with most other sports, women's MMA has struggled to keep up with its male counterpart.

While male MMA stars like Jon Jones and Georges St-Pierre have become household names, women have struggled to even make it onto the televised fight cards of major promotions.

Even the biggest women's MMA star ever, Gina Carano, after playing the lead role in a major motion picture, has struggled to crack into the mainstream. Judging by the success of the movie, she may never truly get there. 

It doesn't help that UFC President Dana White has publicly slammed female fighting in the past, but it's this idea that women should not be fighting one another that has been and will continue to be the biggest obstacle for female fighters and promotions like Invicta. 

While Invicta's first event was a huge success with rumors indicating that there may have been as many as 250,000 viewers worldwide on Saturday, the reality is that the "honeymoon" factor will rub off soon and the promotion will have to make strides to stay alive.

Many promotions have come and gone and few have possessed the long-term staying power to make it through the ups and downs in the business over the past decade. 

Invicta seems different, though.

It's not just that it's an all-female show—those have been around in the past and failed—it's that Invicta seems to have captured both the beauty and the physicality that these ladies bring to the cage, rather than focusing on one or the other.

Overcoming the "female on female violence" aspect will be a challenge, but Invicta's understanding of what it is and where it's going will keep them around for years to come. For a fight fan like myself who doesn't care what the gender of the competitors is, Invicta is a welcome addition to my MMA calendar in 2012.

I look forward to their next event scheduled for July 28 and I truly hope that the MMA community will join me in embracing what this promotion is giving us. It's something different... And maybe that's not such a bad thing after all.